Spinvox have developed a system which, among other products, offers a speech to text voicemail service which is ideal for deaf people who want to be able to use voicemail, such as business owners. I activated the service on my Blackberry and it works very well. When someone phones me, I don’t bother to answer it but let it ring. The phone picks up the message and Spinvox converts the voice message into an email or a text message, and sends it to you. It’s been really useful, especially as it also leaves a link to a voice recording of the message so you can ask a hearing person to listen to it if the email was unclear (lots of people mumble!). Spinvox also prints the caller’s number so you can call them back.
My Spinvox service is paid for by Access to Work. It costs £5 a month for the subscription service and 30 pence for each message converted. There is no software to download.
Spinvox won’t work with a Pay As You Go phone, it must be on a contract phone. It’s very simple to set up although their website is a bit of a nightmare. Spinvox are currently running a promotional offer, free voicemail until the end of 2009. They will convert your messages into emails for free (not text – shame!).
However. There are rumblings …. humans compromise service confidentiality (who cares? I’m deaf. I NEED a voice to text service) …. the company is up for sale with a pre-tax loss of £30 million in 2007 (what about the future?) … basically, they seem to be hiding certain issues.
Which is a great shame, as they scored a major deal with Telefonica who will roll out its Voice Message Conversion System (VMCS) across 13 Latin American countries this autumn. Spinvox say they are the only speech-to-text service in the world that is available in six languages – Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. But at what cost?
I’m not going to go into all the ins and outs of this issue as I’ve had one of those rare weeks. Meh. I’m just bringing it to your attention. For an interesting commentary on all this spin, check out this post after the jump and this post on Spinvox’s demo day.